Netanyahu to lead delegation to Czech Republic (JERUSALEM POST) By HERB KEINON 05/17/12)
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will lead seven ministers to Prague
on Thursday for a cabinet-to-cabinet meeting with the Czech
government, one of the friendliest governments toward Israel in the
Netanyahu, who visited Prague in April 2011, is scheduled to meet his
Czech counterpart Petr Necas, as well as Czech President Vaclav
Klaus. The first government-to-government meeting between the two
countries took place in September in Jerusalem.
One Israeli government official said the meeting is a sign of the
extremely close ties between the two countries. He said the Czech
Republic can regularly be counted on in various EU forums to support
and push forward Israeli positions.
Netanyahu’s trip comes in the same week that the EU foreign ministers
issued a statement harshly critical of Israel’s policies. In the
debate surrounding the resolution, the Czech Republic was not overly
active in trying to water it down, with Italy and the Netherlands
taking the lead this time.
Diplomatic officials said the Czech Republic decided to take a less
active role because it saw that the Germans were determined to push
through the resolution. Israeli officials said Netanyahu did not plan
to bring this up with his hosts.
Netanyahu and Necas are expected to sign a joint declaration
emphasizing the two countries’ historic partnership, strong mutual
support and their hope to further strengthen the relationship.
The declaration is expected to include a line pledging Czech support
for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorist attacks, and
expressing Prague’s concern at Iran’s efforts to enrich uranium for
weapon purposes even as it threatens to destroy Israel. The
declaration will also say that the countries jointly decry both the
calls to destroy Israel, as well as the claims that the Holocaust
The declaration will also include a pledge between the governments to
continue working closely in international forums, where the Czech
Republic can generally be counted on to vote with Israel.
Regarding the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, the
declaration is expected to say that direct negotiations are the only
way to reach a just and sustainable accord.
The declaration is also expected to say that the governments view
defense and security cooperation as a key component of the
relationship, “in light of the historic military ties between the two
countries.” Czechoslovakia supplied a great deal of arms to Israel
during the 1948-9 War of Independence.
Netanyahu will be accompanied during the talks by: Foreign Minister
Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu); Industry, Trade and Labor
Minister Shalom Simhon (Independence); Science and Technology
Minister Daniel Herschkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi); Welfare and Social
Services Minister Moshe Kahlon (Likud); Transportation Minister
Yisrael Katz (Likud); Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias
(Shas); and Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat (Likud). The
ministers will meet with their Czech counterparts.
The prime minister will return to Israel on Friday. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 05/17/12)
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